I’ve learned a very valuable lesson from our recent living room renovation. Which is, sourcing materials and labour separately can result in a huge cost saving. If we’d gone with our local flooring company that we’ve used before, the work would have cost nearly £1,600 more and I’m not sure the finished result would have been anywhere near as good.
It’s an education I’m going to be carrying forward with the rest of our renovation plans, including our ground floor extension to build a new kitchen if we ever get it off the ground. The average kitchen fittings can cost anywhere from nearly £10,000 to over £40,000 and then some. If you really shop around and are on a strict budget amazing results can be achieved from as little as £3,000 to £4,000. However, when this type of interior design work is done right, it can produce a significant return on your investment – as much as 80-90 percent according to some estimates. But if you want to minimize your initial layout, here are some ideas to get the desired kitchen for less.
Before you do anything; know that budget. Inside out and back to front. The last thing you want is to plan the dream remodel only to find out it’s simply not affordable. This will be a safe and realistic starting block and hopefully (she says) avoid any nasty surprises along the way. Other ways to rein in the costs include:
- Make a list of what actually needs updating
- Determine what can stay and may just need a cosmetic facelift
- Set a budget which still allows for some contingency (best laid plans and all that!)
Research Materials Online
Research, research and research again. Tap up contacts and seek inspiration from others who are completing projects on a budget. These days there are some amazing cheaper alternatives to the high end materials which work long-term. Think about the materials you’ll use for your improvement but also consider long-term value and not just the initial cost. Natural stone, for example, wears very well when used on countertops. Materials like granite, marble, and soapstone offer great aesthetics along with incredible durability. Hot cups of coffee, spilled wine, and even accidental knife slices rarely damage most natural stone materials. And if properly sealed, natural stone is also easy to clean and maintain.
Put just as much thought into your floor materials. Instead of opting for entirely new flooring, consider updating what you already have. If you have wood floors, for instance, refinish them instead of replacing them entirely. But if you do have hardwood floors that are really in bad shape, consider wood-like vinyl planks as a replacement option. With vinyl flooring, consider a less-expensive but still appealing material like sealed cork which is set to be huge in 2019.
After the materials are chosen, do some research online. Pay particular attention to:
- Related costs in addition to the basic cost of the materials (e.g., installation, any prep work that may be necessary)
- Potential long-term value of your preferred materials
- How common materials stack up when compared to side-by-side (there are plenty of websites that present options with materials in this way)
Affordably Update The Lighting
Enhancing the lighting can create an entirely new feeling in a way that won’t require a huge investment. Under-cabinet lighting, for example, is a cost effective solution whilst still creating a wow-factor impact. If there’s the opportunity to build lighting in during the design phase, it’s much wiser to add it during the planning stages than adding later when costs will be much higher.
Relocating The Appliances
It can add a huge extra cost to relocate appliances if you don’t need to. Whilst you may want to replace them, consider if they can stay in the same location. We’ve got a situation where our boiler currently sits in the family bathroom and we want to move it down to the current kitchen, which will become the utility room. It makes sense to do it when the renovations will be so large scale and I think we’d regret not doing it. However we’re well aware that it will add additional costs that need to be factored in.
This advice also applies to wall removal plans. If you really want to open up space, pay attention to where existing pipes and electrical wires are located otherwise there may be some unforeseen costs involved in removing those walls.
Don’t Be A Trend Slave
Magazines and websites are super inspiring, but they can also be dangerous sources of design. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had the perfect kitchen mapped out only to fall for a high-end Instagram dream. It’s still possible to get an updated, modern look on a budget without embracing everything that’s on trend. Instead, look at the existing space and determine what really matters most.
When working with a tight budget, it may not be possible to complete the finished renovation in one go. This will certainly apply to us – it’s likely we’ll have enough money at least to get the building up, but not much more than that to begin with. But I’d rather be patient and take my time to ensure we can afford what we want rather than rush through and end up in debt.
My favourite people to follow on Instagram are always those who are remodeling on a very tight budget. Appliances can see costs spiral but one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. I’ve seen stunning new ranger cookers sourced via eBay or Gumtree for a fraction of the cost you would typically pay. Local charity shops which collect electrics and furniture can also have some hidden gems on offer.
- Backsplashes: Consider only using higher-grade tiles around your sink and stove and using attractive-but-more-affordable selections elsewhere.
- Cabinets: If the existing cabinets only have minor cosmetic issues, consider repainting them instead of replacing them entirely with new cabinets, such as shaker cabinets. Also ready-made cabinets are always cheaper than custom ones and there is a whole world of IKEA hacks out there to give kitchens a luxe look on a budget.
- Islands: Either go with a smaller island or consider repurposing other pieces of furniture instead. Old desks, tables, and dressers are usually an acceptable height for an island (about 36 inches).
Hopefully these are some useful tips if you’re planning your own kitchen remodel, I just need to make sure I put them into practice and don’t let my expensive tastes run away with me!
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